A leading civil service HR director has warned of difficult times ahead for the public sector as it faces up to turbulent industrial relations.
Speaking at the CIPD annual conference in Harrogate, Angela O’Connor, chief people officer at the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA), said: “There are problems ahead for the public sector following strikes and threats from the prison service and police.”
O’Connor also pointed to challenges faced by public sector HR professionals in managing sickness absence, bullying, stress and increasing workloads.
“We often deal with customers who are at the worst time in their lives,” she added. “The stakes are high and accountability means that if we get things wrong there can be horrendous implications – people die and communities collapse.”
O’Connor said that leadership was the driver for change in organisations, and that HR had a distinct role in developing current and emerging leaders.